What is a Microsoft Client Access License (CAL)?

A Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) ~ client access license is a commercial software license that businesses and organizations need to use server software.  

When is a Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) needed?  

The need for a Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) varies by server product. A Microsoft Client Access license (CAL) is assigned to a device or user, who thus gains access to the software. In some cases, a basic license is sufficient and sometimes additional CAL licenses are necessary for users who use certain server products remotely. These are so-called Additive CALs and External Connector CALs.  

When are CALs not necessary?  

In fact, the rule of thumb is that CALs or similar licenses are always necessary, unless the server gains access using another license server, the server software has a Web Workload or HPC Workload, or there is a physical OSE that is only used for hosting or management of virtual OSEs. A merger of connections or pools does not reduce the number of required CAL licenses. Therefore, users must always have the correct and the correct number of licenses. So a CAL is required for each user or device that accesses the server.    

What is the difference between Core and Enterprise CAL Suite?  

A CAL Suite is a single license that provides usage rights equal to multiple licenses. Both Core CAL Suite and Enterprise CAL Suite are part of Microsoft ’s offerings and provide   access to various server products and online services. The difference is that Core CAL Suite offers access to the basic licenses for server products, while Enterprise CAL Suit e contains additional functionalities compared to CAL Suite.  

What are equivalent CAL licenses?  

Equivalent CAL licenses grant a user access rights to certain products, such as CAL suites and SLs for online services. Equivalent CAL licenses provide access to server software running on license services or for managing OSEs. To illustrate, an Office 365 Enterprise E1 license provides equivalent rights to SharePoint Server Standard CAL, Exchange Server Standard CAL, or Skype for Business Server Standard CAL. This also gives users access to on-premise server software. The licensing rights and obligations associated with Equivalent CAL licenses can be found in the product terms and conditions.  

Do I need more than one CAL per user or device to access server applications running on more than one server?  

One CAL (user CAL or device CAL) is sufficient to use the products or services running on multiple license servers. It is important that a user CAL gives the same user access to every server within the network. If you want to use any device, a device CAL is necessary.  

Can any CAL version be used to access the servers in the server network?  

A client access license provides access to the same version or previous versions of the server software. Older CAL versions cannot therefore be used to use a new version. Take Windows Server 2016. Anyone using this with a Windows Server 2016 CAL can use it for Windows Server 2012, but not for a version launched after 2016.   

Do users with a Core or Enterprise CAL Suite need to purchase a Windows Server device CAL for devices that access the Windows server?     

Any user accessing server software must have a Microsoft Client Access License. This can be either a user CAL or a device CAL. Network devices, such as network printers or multifunction devices, can only be used by license holders (in possession of a user CAL). A device CAL provides access to corresponding versions of the server software or earlier versions of the server software used on the same device.   

Does a multifunction printer need a CAL?  

Every multifunction printer that is connected to the server network, and with which a job can therefore be communicated (using server software), must have a CAL. Users who use the printer and have a user CAL can use this printer through their CAL. However, if users have a device CAL, a printer CAL is also required. A CAL is a requirement for every network device, including a network scanner or network fax. If a device (for example a copier) does not connect to a network, then no CAL is required for use.  

 Can CALs be used to access third-party servers?  

CALs can be used to access servers within your own company or organization. However, it is not possible to access the server of a company that is not affiliated with your own company (a third party). The rights and obligations are also included in the product conditions. In practice, this means that company A may grant access to employees   of company B provided that both companies are owned by the same person who also purchased the CALs. The CALs purchased by company A then cover the use within company B.  For shared ownership, Microsoft applies the rule that the owner of company A must has at least an interest of 50% or more in company B.    

Do CALs need to be purchased for Active Directory service accounts?  

A CAL is not necessary if there is no physical person who needs to access the server with such accounts. A CAL is necessary for each user or device used to access the server functionalities. Active Directory and a Mailbox do not themselves require a CAL. 

Do I need a CAL for my server? 

Microsoft selling Client Access Licenses (CAL) licenses has been big business for Microsoft for years. The assumption is that more than one billion US dollars is involved on an annual basis. CAL licenses are a regular source of confusion among customers, resellers and Microsoft itself. 

Basically, every user within an organization or device that accesses Microsoft server software, directly or indirectly, requires at least one CAL. Microsoft now has a number of different CALs that you must purchase when applicable. So you have the Device CALs and User CALs. Of course you also have the Core CAL and the Enterprise Suite CAL. 

Depending on what you use, you sometimes need different types of CALs. For example, external users may also need a CAL in addition to internal users. 

Buy Microsoft CAL smartly and cheaply  

Microsoft User CAL or Device CAL can be quite expensive if you have to purchase this for all users or devices. Since 2012 it has been possible to save up to 70% with second-hand licenses. Q-Advise is happy to help you get the best price for buying a used User CAL or Device CAL. In addition to RDS CALs, there are also second-hand Windows CALs, Exchange CALs, SharePoint CALs for sale.  

Would you like to know more about the possibilities, differences and prices of Microsoft Client Access License (CAL)?  Get in touch with us.

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